Police arrest man suspected of several indecent assaults

Mark Abrams
January 31, 2019 - 12:19 pm
Erich Cunningham

Philadelphia Police Department

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Police say they have arrested a man believed to be responsible for a series of indecent assaults in Center City and North Philadelphia.

Two officers on foot patrol encountered 58-year-old Erich Cunningham, who identifies as homeless, at the bottom of the escalator of the SEPTA concourse at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard and stopped him for questioning.

The pair say he matched the description of the man suspected of the physical assaults of four girls and a 30-year-old woman. 

Cunningham was taken to the Special Victims Unit where he was questioned and later charged with unlawful contact with a child, indecent assault, simple assault, and harassment.

RELATED: Police investigate string of indecent assaults against 5 women

Capt. Mark Burgmann said the suspect first went after a 16-year-old at 6:30 a.m. as she stood on a subway platform at SEPTA's Walnut-Locust station. She said a man grabbed her hand and tried to make her touch him inappropriately. 

From there, he made his way north, groping a 30-year-old woman on the concourse at Suburban Station, then a 12-year-old at 16th and Arch streets. 

"At 16th and Vine, the victim's a 15-year-old female," Burgmann said. "She was approached by the offender, who grabbed her buttocks, and she then fled and went to school." 

He finally stopped at Broad and Fairmount streets after assaulting a 16-year-old girl at Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue.  

Burgmann said investigators got a solid description of the man based on a video police acquired and descriptions from victims and witnesses. 

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KYW Newsradio's Paul Kurtz and Dan Wing contributed to this story.